Bollywood stars Amitabh Bachchan and Shahrukh Khan have on Saturday inaugurated the 18th Kolkata International Film Festival (KIFF).
Acknowledging the contribution of West Bengal in cinema, literature, art and culture, the actors, who flew down from Mumbai at the personal request of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, told a packed stadium that they were privileged and honoured to be the part of the ceremony.
Bachchan, 70, amidst loud applause, started off by speaking in Bengali and ended reciting a stanza from Rabindranath Tagore's poem 'Banglar Mati Banglar Jol'.
Khan, 47, the brand ambassador of the state, told the audience of around 15,000-20,000 people, "What brings me every time to Kolkata is the energy and enthusiasm of Mamata Banerjee."
Taking the glamour quotient of the festival up, Khan's 'Jab Tak Hai Jaan' co-actors Katrina Kaif and Anushka Sharma, besides Mithun Chakraborty, and the who's who of the Bengali film industry were present at the inauguration.
Bengali music composer Debajyoti Mishra led an orchestra which presented a melodious medley of evergreen Hindi and Bengali songs including Rabindra Sangeet.
Organised by the information and cultural affairs department of the West Bengal government, the eight-day festival will screen 189 films from 60 countries in 40
languages at twelve venues across the metropolis.